Pioneers hold on in final seconds to edge Cocalico

By on April 26, 2017
Cocalico’s Sam Klumpp fires a shot on the L-S goal during Monday’s game in Lampeter. Photo by Denise Mitchell

Cocalico’s Sam Klumpp fires a shot on the L-S goal during Monday’s game in Lampeter. Photo by Denise Mitchell

The Lampeter-Strasburg girls lacrosse team avenged an early season non-league loss as they held off a furious Cocalico comeback on the football stadium grass in Lampeter on Monday evening.

The Pioneers (7-0 league, 10-1 overall) bested the Lady Eagles (4-3, 7-5) by a 13-12 final score. And the outcome was in doubt with 4.8 seconds left.

Cocalico had overcome deficits of 11-6 and 12-7, the second with just 8:31 remaining on the game clock. Surely, the Lady Eagles were finished, but not so fast!

Cocalico claimed the next four goals, clawing back to within 12-11, but with only 1:19 on the clock. L-S sophomore Kelsey Kimmel (six goals, 78 for the year) then controlled her third consecutive restart draw, and 15 seconds later sophomore Paige Weidman (two goals) found the back of the cage, upping the L-S lead to two.

Surely, the game was over now. Nope!

Lady Eagle senior Jess Fullerton scored her fourth goal of the night to close within one again, but by now there were only 24.2 seconds left. With Kimmel controlling 14 of the previous 19 draws, it still didn’t look good for Cocalico.

But a Pioneer infraction on the restart put the ball in Fullerton’s hands again. The Slippery Rock commit crashed through a wall of defenders, drawing a foul inside 15 yards, which brings us to the 4.8 second mark mentioned earlier.

You could cut the tension with a knife or hold your breath. The two squads lined up, knowing this free position shot would end the game or send it into overtime. No time for further regulation time beyond this moment.

Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, they were whistled for a false start. The infraction turned the ball over with 3.8 seconds left and L-S was able to hang on.

“It’s not something that often gets called,” said Cocalico head coach Courtney Reinhold said of the infraction against her team. “But in a pressure situation with 4.8 seconds left, I can understand it. Your adrenaline’s going…you’re ready to go and you’re ready to take that shot.”

The Lady Eagle offense also got a boost from junior Sydney Costanza (four goals), seniors Sam Klumpp (two goals, assist) and Lyndsay Engle (two goals). They also got assists from sophomore Corrie Lescoe (two) and sophomore Katlyn Heck.

Defensively, Cocalico was backed by junior goalkeeper Alexyss Cobb (nine saves), whose point-blank stops during the comeback were nothing short of spectacular.

On the other side of the field, Pioneer senior keeper Olivia Martin (12 saves) was a force in net as L-S built its lead.

“She’s a phenomenal goalie,” added Reinhold. “We did take a couple of shots where we caught the ball, turned and shot right at her. You have to move her.”

There was a lot on the line for both teams, starting with the race for the four Lancaster-Lebanon League playoff spots. The win keeps L-S tied with Manheim Township and Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic, while just a scant game ahead of Hempfield. The Pioneers still have all three on their schedule. The loss drops the Lady Eagles into a fifth place tie with Penn Manor.

Both squads are currently in the field (16 teams) for the District Three AA playoffs. L-S held fast with the three seed following the win, while Cocalico slipped from ninth to 10th with the loss. Before Monday, all of the Lady Eagles four losses were to top-six AAA schools.

Cocalico had beaten L-S 17-7 on Talon Field in Denver on March 24 in non-league action.

There were two distinct differences this time.

“The turf is a lot faster,” described Reinhold. “Once the ball is on the (grass) ground, it really dies right where it is. We’re used to the turf, where you run through everything.”

The other challenge was playing without senior Alyiha Price (34 goals), who missed the game due to illness.

“That definitely didn’t help us,” added Reinhold. “We still have the potential to win without her. It would have been nice to have her on the field.”

In a pre-game joint effort, both teams took the field in pink and white tee-shirts that boasted the message “Sophia Strong,” a fund-raiser that earned approximately $1,700. The money went to Lititz based Conner M. Holland Foundation that assists families affected by pediatric cancer.

Sophie Wagner was wheeled onto the field by her parents and the girls sang “Happy Birthday” as she approaches her first birthday. The toddler was born with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

The Lady Eagles wrap up the regular season with three home games Friday (E-town), Tuesday (Cedar Crest) and next Wednesday (LCD/LC).

In addition to Monday, Cocalico dropped a 20-8 decision to Manheim Township Friday, and the Lady Eagles captured a 17-6 win over Warwick last Wednesday.

Price had four goals and Fullerton three in the loss to Township. Against Warwick, Fullerton, Klumpp and Engle all found the net four times to lead the way for Cocalico.

As for Ephrata, the Lady Mounts were scheduled to be on the road Tuesday at Conestoga Valley.

Monday night at Spring Grove in a non-league contest, the host Rockets out-scored Ephrata 7-5 in the second half to pull out a tight 12-10 decision.

Ephrata’s Aubrey Zimmerman led all scorers with a game-high seven goals. Kayci Strous added two tallies while Anne Sensenig also found the net for the Lady Mounts.

Grace Campbell made 27 saves for Ephrata in the loss.

The Lady Mounts also faced Hempfield last Wednesday at home where the visiting Black Knights earned a 19-5 victory over Ephrata.

Hempfield jumped all over Ephrata early, taking a 13-3 lead at the half before coasting home for the victory.

Zimmerman scored four of the five Ephrata goals to lead the Lady Mounts. Strous added the other Ephrata tally.

Up next, Ephrata will host Warwick Friday (7 p.m.) before facing Schuylkill Valley in a road match Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The Lady Mounts then close out the regular season next Thursday (7 p.m.) at home vs. Manheim Township.

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